Biola University – Mark Saucy, Michael Vlach, Mitch Glaser: Israel and the Church

Michael Vlach, Mitch Glaser, Mark Saucy - Israel and the Church. Photo credit Biola University

Michael Vlach, Mitch Glaser, Mark Saucy – Israel and the Church. Photo credit Biola University

Mark Saucy (Chair, Dept. of Theology Talbot School of Theology, Biola University), Michael Vlach (Michael J. Vlach, Ph.D. is Professor of Theology at The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, California), and Mitch Glaser (Dr. Glaser is an alumnus of Northeastern Bible College, holds a Master of Divinity degree in Bible from Talbot Theological Seminary and a Ph. D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. He has a keen understanding of the global scope of the modern Messianic movement thanks to his extensive travels, and was instrumental in establishing two congregations among Russian Jewish immigrants in New York.) discuss the relationship between Israel and the modern-day Church.

MARK SAUCY, first lecturer:

When we talk about the future of the land and the people of Israel,  we are talking about something that encompasses a great amount of Scripture. We are talking something that engages  the whole narrative that God has engaged for us all from Genesis to Revelation. And so, we are talking about something that’s very complex, has a lot of data, and so, it might be many tellings of what that narrative might look like even among Christians. In his book, that is on the screen here, R. Kendall Soulen, he wrestles with the difficult question of  what he calls  ‘christianity’s traditional narrative’. He writes the narrative this way. He says it’s a four fold, four episode proposition. And you might recognize this, I know, I did when I encountered his book.

Christianity’s Traditional Narrative
Four episodes:

  1. An original creation intended for consummation.
  2. Human disobedience and fall.
  3. Redemption in Christ.
  4. Final consummation of redeemed creation.

Anything missing in this narrative?

Israel’s story (2/3 of Scriptures is not needed to tell this kind of story)

Whatever you think of Israel or not, that, on its face something awry. Something’s amiss. You can tell the story that God has written for the world  without 2/3 of His revelation? So we need to ask the question: What is the role? And, it leads us to the way Jesus described it: He’s probably the best way to start, the God-man of Christendom. For, He told the woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria, „Salvation is from the Jews”. And if you go back to Soland’s Four episode narrative, salvation becomes a very convoluted, distorted, and kind of minimalist  something that’s individual, something that’s spiritual, something that’s personal. But, is it social, material, national? See, human life has all of those dimensions and we need a story that tells, that addresses all of those dimensions. So, I’m going to attempt the story in five episodes.

(Notes from the first 3 minutes. Duration of lecture is 2 hours with the 3 speakers)

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

Ravi Zacharias: Marching to a Different Drummer – Talbot Chapel, Biola University

 Talbot Chapel from October 10, 2015.
Copyright 2015 Ravi K. Zacharias

George Marsden: The Lasting Vitality of C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity [Torrey Lecture] Biola University

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

God, Science & the Big Questions: Leading Christian Thinkers Respond to the New Atheism (Biola)

John Lennox, William Lane Craig, JP Moreland, and Hugh Hewitt for this fast-paced, wide-ranging and supremely stimulating discussion among some of the finest thinkers in the Christian world. Nothing is off the table as they discuss science vs. Christianity, arguments for God, the decline of Darwinism, radical Islam and the Gospel, responding to skeptics, the problem of consciousness, mathematics and the cosmos, the nature of knowledge, and much, much more.

Originally broadcast live from Biola University on Friday, January 30th, 2015.

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

Kingship from OT to David and Jesus – short discussion at Biola U. on 1 & 2 Samuel

The historical Books of 1 & 2 Samuel Photo credit www.foundationsforfreedom.net

Matt Jenson: …It looks like at the beginning of Israel’s life with God, that things are pretty simple. The social setup is pretty simple: God is the King. Sometimes, He’s got some spokespeople, some people who do some judgments and things like that, who tell people what God thinks. But, God’s the King, Israel’s His people. Somewhere along the line, in fact, in 1 & 2 Samuel Israel gets a king. Eventually, it turns out that this king, along the line is going to be David and eventually it’s gonna be Jesus. So, it sounds like God is saying, „I wanna be your king, I don’t wanna give you a human king. That’s a bad idea. And then, oh, eventually I’m gonna give you my son Jesus to be your king.” So, what do we do with this? Is this whole kingship God’s idea, is it a good idea, a bad idea? What do you make of that?

Adam Johnson: Yes. God clearly seems to think this is a bad thing. What you’re doing here is gonna make a mess. Kings are gonna want and demand all sorts of things that are gonna be disastrous for your nation, there will be all sorts of bad implications. And yet, all sorts of good will come out of this. We have the building of the temple, and the whole lineage. We have Christ coming from that. Christ is in many ways a king. All that’s good stuff, but somehow people willed it in a bad way, that God sees is destructive and allows for His people nonetheless.

Matt Jensen: Why did they want a king?

Adam Johnson: Jealousy of other nations, „We wan a be like other nations. They lead them out in battle and they do great things. We want that.” And God seems to say, „Well, alright, if that’s what you want…”

Matt Jensen: Israel had done pretty well without a King.

Joseph Henderson: In the Book of Judges, you just see , there’s a familiar cycle of disobedience and then taking over by foreign enemies. And it’s not just a cycle. It’s a downward spiral. It gets worse and worse and they say… the Judges kind of have this refrain in the last several chapters: There was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. And maybe even when you come over to Samuel, there’s a strong sense of: A king is what people are longing for. When Hannah gives her beautiful song of rejoicing over what God’s done for her, she ends it up with saying, „And my son is going to be standing before God’s anointed.” And you think: Wow, the anointed, the Messiah is coming, he’s gonna rule over. So that hope and expectation is raised, even in the book. Earlier, it’s in the prophecy of Balaam, it’s in the prophecy of Jacob about Judah, there’s going to be a king. This is God’s good intention. So, it makes it more of a puzzle, why this specific request for the king is treated, as God says, as a rejection of His kingship.

Matt Jensen: Back to that point in Judges: There was no king and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Is Judges inclining us to see a causal connection here? That the lack of a centralized office of leadership meant that people were doing just all sorts of things?

Joseph Henderson: Yes, though you wonder when Judges was written. Probably when there was a king. And so, they probably have some awareness of „people are still doing what’s right in their own eyes. And also, you think about what kind of king would you need. Well, you’d need one to teach people to do what’s right in God’s eyes. That reminds them of the law, let’s say.

Matt Jensen: So, is the problem that Israel wanted a king at all? Or is it that they didn’t understand some kind of separation of powers was gonna be needed? Or, they didn’t understand the implications of Kings who fell short of God’s character?

Joseph Henderson: It does seem that that’s a question you’re wrestling with all through the book. It does seem to be something of timing. You know, God was gonna give Moses water from the rock, but for Moses to strike the rock, there was something wrong with that. It might have been a motivation of what they were looking for in a king, and the bottom line is that the way that they asked for it, God reads as a rejection of His own kingship. But when you come to someone like David, he says, „My kingship is not a rejection, it’s a reflection of God’s kingship.

Matt Jensen: What is it about David? Now, here’s an interesting guy. I mean, David’s a heroThis is the forerunner of Christ in so many ways. If you’re looking for a king, the short list has got David at the top. But he does some horrible things.

Adam Johnson: He’s a good king for about 5 chapters.

Matt Jensen: And in fact, he does some horrible things. As a result of the horrible things, the rest of his reign is fraught with difficulty. So, is it wrong to read him as a good king? Or, what makes him a good king, even in light of all of this other stuff?

Adam Johnson: I’m curious to see, would it be fair to say that in some capacity he’s functioning as a judge in the first part, as he’s building up towards a kingship? And what makes a judge? He’s just a hero leading a people, bringing some order, fighting the battles that need to be fought. He’s being clearly directed by the king- God. So, he’s not playing the role in that capacity. And so, he’s just leading the people as necessary in a clear role of submission. And so, he’s just a hero. It’s all good. He becomes king and that’s good for just a tiny little bit and then boom. That makes me wonder if kingship has something to do with a power which is too much for us to handle, so even though God is gonna use it in a good way, God doesn’t want it for His people, cause His people just can’t handle it. You don’t see anyone  that stays a good king. Even with David, you just get a few chapters and then it starts falling apart.

Joseph Henderson: I’m not sure that I would agree with the good and bad dichotomy. Definitely, after a few chapters of things going swell, things take a nosedive and it’s because David’s immoral decisions. And yet, there’s something about him through the whole, the way that he responds when he’s confronted with this sin. The deep humanity that you see in him as he grieves for his son Absalom. The faithfulness that he shows to Mehibosheth. There’s something that makes him a good king, even despite his bad decisions and the terrible consequences that they have, not only in his life, but for the long term in his country.

Matt Jensen: So, it’s almost the response… I mean, we tend to think of egregious public sin like adultery and plotting someone’s murder as the sort of thing that makes the man that unmakes the man. I think, Joe, that what I’m hearing from you is: Even though there’s a litany of consequences that are clearly rolled out and they clearly roll out as a consequence of David’s sin, nevertheless, the measure of David is taken with reference to his being a man after God’s own heart, which I I take would include things like his repentance, and his softness before the Lord’s  chastening, so that he doesn’t harden, he doesn’t come undone. It actually sort of remakes him in a kind of certain way.

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

Ben Witherington: The Self-Understanding of Jesus – Biola University

 

From „To everyone an answer: 10th Annual EPS Apologetics Conference”.

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

 

Debate – William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens – Does God Exist? Biola University (April 04,2009)

With winter on our heels, we always like to spend time watching apologetics debates, so here is a very good debate with 2 formidable opponents, whom to watch and learn from.

Dr. Craig, presents his case using 5 arguments

  1. cosmological argument, the well known first cause argument,
  2. teleological argument, the incredible beauty, organization and complexity of the universe testifies to intelligent design. He uses the anthropic principle to back up his point here. There are over 100 known fundament physical constants that demonstrate the extreme fine tuning required to support life on Earth. […]
  3. Morals come from a transcendent creator making them objective.
  4. The resurrection of Jesus, shows us there is a personal God. Dr. Craig expounds on the veracity of this claim.
  5. The immediate experience of God

Hitchens, bases his belief of atheism on lack of evidence of a supreme being and a few of the things he brought up include:

  1. The big bang and evolution with very large quantities of time explain the start of the universe and life as we know it today.
  2. When presenting his case, he groups the major monotheisms: Christianity, Jewish faith and Islam into one assembly asserting the arguments based on his vast experience of debating representatives from each world view are similar
  3. Since Mr. Hitchens doubts all arguments for the existence of God based on lack of evidence, he concludes there isn’t one
  4. All religious beliefs are gibberish and wishful thinking
  5. He states the Bible has records of genocide and slavery in it, asserting that it promotes immorality
  6. Firmly believes that morals evolved much the same way organic structures have and cultures that didn’t practice basic morality became extinct.
  7. Uses the fact the Catholic church promoted an Earth centric universe as evidence the theistic camp doesn’t know what it’s talking about when it comes to science
  8. He values personal freedom very highly and doesn’t want a theocracy telling him what to do.
  9. He takes this subject extremely seriously and respects the discussion of it.
  10. He attacks the saint hood of mother Teresa strongly.

There were four sections in the debate: a 20 minute opening speech, rebuttal, question and answer period between Dr. Craig and Mr. Hitchens, a closing argument was given by Dr. Craig and not Mr. Hitchens, presumably he presented his case completely in the first 3 sections of the debate.

This summary is given by an amazon reviewer here. This debate took place in the gymnasium of Biola University – http://Biola.edu. The introduction start in about the 12th minute, so if you want to skip the part before that just of to the 12th minute. VIDEO by Wade Davis

Fred Sanders – Theology of the Trinity

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity Talbot School of Theology Chapel from September 10, 2013.

Dr. William Lane Craig at Biola University debates Dr. Alex Rosenberg „Is Faith in God Reasonable?”

Photos  via tripwow.tripadvisor.com & ujjf.blogit.fi

On February 1st, 2013 at Purdue University, Dr William Lane Craig (Research Professor of Philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, and teaches courses in the master of arts degree program in Christian Apologetics at Biola) participated in a debate with Dr Alex Rosenberg (R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University & head of the Philosophy Dept.) on the topic, „Is Faith In God Reasonable?” Dr. Craig’s response to the debate question is YES and Dr. Rosenberg’s answer is NO.

Over 5,000 people watched the event on the Purdue University campus along with tens of thousands streaming it live online from around the world.  Here is Dr. William Lane Craig answering a question at this debate in a small video snippet from this debate- http://wp.me/p1eavz-bZV.

For more resources visit Dr Craig’s webiste: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

Resources for further study at Biola University in Southern California: http://apps.biola.edu/apologetics-sto… Plus more Biola academic content at OPEN.BIOLA.EDU

VIDEO captured February 1, 2013 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. by BiolaUniversity.

There are 2 hours of debate and then a 47 minute Question & Answer session. All closed captioned. I have used splicd.com to fast forward the video to the start of the debate. If you should like to see the 17 minute introduction click here – http://youtu.be/bhfkhq-CM84

Alistair Begg: My times are in Your hands (1) Biola University

Biola Chapel from April 22, 2013 – „One of the distinguishing marks of a Christian, of a Christian worldview is to be found in the way in which  he or she views the passing of time and the ordering of the events of life.”

Psalm 31: A Psalm of Complaint and of Praise.

In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.

I hate those who regard vain idols,
But I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.
11 Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.

Alistair Begg:

Gauguin, the post impressionist painter, painted large and very graphic pictures, particularly of women from the islands. He led a dissolute life, although brought up as a Roman Catholic and catechized, and he was not known for writing on his paintings, apart from signing them. But, on one of his most famous paintings, depicting the journey of man form birth to the grave, he wrote on the top corner, he wrote 3 questions: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Unfortunately, he had no answers for those questions. He died in his fifties, as a result, really, of a life that was lived in excess, without finding answers to those questions.

In contrast, the catechism, the Heidelberg (corrupted a little), asks the question: What is our only hope in life and death? And it provides an answer: That we are not our own, but belong, body and soul, both in life and death to God and to our Savior, Jesus Christ. You see, one of the distinguishing marks of a Christian, of a Christian worldview is to be found in the way in which  he or she views the passing of time and the ordering of the events of life. To think Christianly is to have a radical shift in the way in which we view all of these issues and to be able to affirm, „My times, o God is in your hands,” is a Christian thing to do. And so, I want to say just 3 things on the strength of that this morning:

 

Biola University – The Trinity and Gender: The Recent Debate Among Evangelicals

This video is a must see. Make some quiet time to watch it, as it is a bit extensive, duration is 2 hours, but, very well worth your time. Not only will you hear a deep, theological discussion about the role of women, which has come to the forefront as never before in the history of mankind, but, you will also hear some outstanding insights into the trinity and how both egalitarians and complementarians have used it to support their arguments, and arguments against using the trinity in order to support arguments on either side of the debate.

This dialogue is between Dr. Kevin Giles (egalitarian) & Dr. Fred Sanders (complementarian).

Dr. Kevin Giles position (notes – first 30 minutes):

the doctrine of the trinity should not be appealed to to ground subordination of women or the equality of the sexes. The doctrine of God should not be confused with our teaching of the relationship of men and women. 

Dr. Giles, however, does not teach that „the trinity is a coequal trinity of persons.”

He also states that: „When we come to an important issue like the relationship of men and women, we should go directly to the Bible. We should follow the normal rules of biblical theology, where the Bible begins on this issue. In this case, it is Genesis chapter 1 and (we should) successively read through the Bible starting with the Gospels in the New Testament, then the Book of Acts, and Paul’s epistles.”

His 7 reasons why the trinity cannot be used to „appeal …to the hierarchical ordering of the sexes” and be the „ground for the subordination or the equality of the sexes”. Further he makes a global argument when he states, „The eternal and immanent trinity, that’s God as He is in heaven is not, and cannot be the ground for the social ordering on earth of any kind. The trinity does not set our social agenda. His 7 objections are:

  1. The idea that the trinity prescribes human relations on earth is a very modern idea.
  2. The idea that the divine life in heaven prescribes life and relations on earth is implausible. Why, we must ask is God’s perfect relationship in heaven prescribed for flawed relations on earth?
  3. Specifically, in regards to the man-woman relationship, to argue that the three fold relationship in heaven prescribes the two fold man-woman relationship on earth, I think is illogical.
  4. 1 Corinthians 11:3 offers no convincing basis for this appeal to the trinity.Some believe where Paul says (that) God is the head of Christ, and man is the head of woman justifies the trinity argument.
  5. The idea of the trinity speaks of the Father ruling over the Son is the denial of the full divinity of the Son and the unqualified Lordship of Christ.
  6. To argue that the Son’s eternal and necessary functional subordination does not imply ontological subordination is unconvincing.
  7. The idea of the Son as eternally subordinated to the Father is rejected by most contemporary trinitarian scholars.

Dr. Fred Sanders position (notes from min 30-min 60):

The evangelical gender debate has basically a two party profile:

  • Those that are interested in the foundational doctrine of the trinity and
  • Those whose primary interest is in the gender discussion and who annex the doctrine of the trinity fin order to provide greater doctrinal or rhetorical leverage.

The trinity is more interesting than the partisan question of whose side it is on and it is worth thinking about for its own sake rather than for its relevance to gender heirarchy… Contrary to widespread presupposition, it is not at all self evident that a theology of the trinity and the theology of human community should be doctrines which impinge on each other. These are two doctrinal tracks which are widely separated from each other in a total theological system which must be articulated according to internal logic. (in answer to Dr. Giles point #2).

The doctrine of the trinity is the highest point of the doctrine of God, occupying a place prior to all the perfections of the divine nature, so that none of the divine attributes can be parceled out among the trinity. None of the divine perfections  can be described in a merely unitarian way without reference to the Father, Son, and Spirit, who are the three who hold each divine perfection.

…The doctrine of the trinity has two poles, in its logical structure, the economic involvement of the Son and Spirit in the history of salvation and the eternal, immanent trinity. Confessing God’s triune being and act in these two ways can doctrinally secure respectively, the divine giving on the one hand, and the divine freedom on the other. So that God is really with us in the incarnation of the Son and the out pouring of the Spirit, and yet, God in Himself is eternally Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

A theological account on gender, on the other hand, properly situated, far away from the doctrine of the trinity, across the great divide that distinguishes God from everything else. It is located  in the story of creation, deep inside the territory of theological anthropology , and it is a doctrine which must provide explanatory value for our daily experience of the empirical fact of being human. Theological anthropology is necessarily involved in the drama of good creation, disastrous fall, reconciliation in Christ, eschatological fulfillment.  The doctrine of humanity has to be constructed in a way that makes logical sense in a narrative sequence. Good creation, bad fall. Events that must be recognized in human dignity- good creation. And human misery- bad fall. In our indissoluble relation to our Creator and in our alienation from right relation with Him.

God the trinity is of course also involved in the story. In fact, the same story and the doctrine of the trinity must be constructed from this economic story. But, unlike man, God is the sovereign Lord of His own story. Therefore, the narrative identification that shapes the doctrine of God is not constitutive of the being of God, in the way that the human narrative is constitutive of the human being. Gog would be God without that story of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation.

Though the doctrine of the trinity is widely confessed to be a mystery, a theological account of human gender must also grapple with its own mystery. Seeking makes sense out of humanity’s puzzling coexistence in these two basic forms of male-female. These are two basic doctrines that stand in need of being connected…. It’s gonna take work to relate the doctrine of the trinity, in any way to the doctrine of gender. So, easy, quick answers need to be called under suspicion.

Using the Image of God as an appeal to gender issues

The answer that’s been the largest in the history of theology is that they can be related through the doctrine of the image of God. Now, that’s probably right. But, when you do the work of filling out the image of God in a biblical and theological argument, we discover that instead of this being a direct and self evident route from trinity to human community, it is instead a doctrinal complex of its own, following its own logic and therefore functioning not as a direct  link between God and man, but a very indirect one, involving a long and fascinating detour, if we had time enough in the world. However, when the doctrine of the image of God is misconstrued in a direct line from God to the human community.

It becomes a very abstract appeal. They think they’re being concrete when they make this appeal, but, it is actually very abstract. It’s an appeal of this sort. Divine and human community are related to each other by imaging. Ontologically, by reflection, or ethically speaking, by imitation. As above, so below is the nature of that appeal. And when applied as an abstract principle it has a sort of a mythological structure. It explains the seen in terms of the unseen, by mythological structure- appealing to something unseen as the explanation for something that is seen.

It is the doctrine of God in general, but, the doctrine of the trinity in particular which has suffered a great deal in a direct appeal to an imaging relation between divine and human community. Theologians who start with the assumption that the trinity has an image and that we can identify it in a created structure are constantly running the risk of unchecked projection.

An imaging structure- „as above, so below”, exposes us to the danger of projecting human traits on God. Here are a few examples from recent years:

  1. Theologians have appealed to the image of the trinity to support their view of social, political, and economic order. Latin American theologian Leonardo Boff has elaborated in his book ‘Holy Trinity Perfect Society’, a social vision of equality and mutuuality, which he explicitly grounds in a free, equal, and mutual community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  2. Less well known is the work of Michael Novak, who briefly suggests that the dialectic of unity and plurality in God’s triune being shows in a dim and distant way, the ( –word unknown)  of a political economy, differentiated, and yet one. Or in short, democratic capitalism.

Boff and Novak famously operate with different socioeconomic vision. And, when one of them looks into the mystery of God, he sees socialism, while the other peers into the same mystery (of the trinity) and sees a free market. Perhaps the mystery is serving as a mirror… If one is wrong and the other right, how would we make that judgment? What are the controls and limits that we should urge on these two thinkers who have found mutually contradictory images of the trinity, which ground mutually contradictory social visions to which they were committed to before they began doing trinitarian theology.

Another example, really briefly, is the application of the doctrine of the trinity to the order of the church. This is a pretty famous discussion by big shots such as Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote on the trinity that he perceived a kind of a headship or monarchy in there that really sounds very similar to the structure of the pope as the head of the church, which also, of course, includes other bishops, but, must be in communion with the Pope. Who is responded to by John Zizioulas, who said, „No, no, it’s much more like a network of –(word unknown) patriarchs, sort of how we have in orthodoxy. Then, Miroslav Wolf came along and wrote a great book, detailing exactly how these two arguments were made, ending up with the trinity being either catholic or orthodox, and he said, „No, no it is all baptistry in there, it is all about free association. Catholic theologian, Dr. Anne Hunt spoke very clearly about the danger of projection that emerged from Miroslav Wolf’s project, and from the arguments of his chosen interlocutors, Pope Benedict and Zizioulas. Dr. Anne Hunt says, „One cannot but observe that the conclusions reached bear close correspondence to the particular ecclesial tradition or understanding from which each interlocutor from our survey come to their conclusion….we should be very wary of appropriation of God language in support of our  structures and systems, be it ecclesial, political, or social.

So socialist peer into the trinity and find socialism, capitalists capitalism, the catholics see hierarchy, the orthodox see communion among equals, baptists see baptists, egalitarians see equality, and complementarians see complementarianism.

When we use the image of the trinity strategy, we tend to find what we want to find. Furthermore, there is a notably arbitrary character to which of our convictions and values we decide to locate in the trinity. Why do we find authority structures, but not threeness? Why do we not find relations of origins? That’s what a lot of older christians found. What serves as the criterion, what let’s us know whether the human thing we admire is properly to be understood  as the point of similarity with God, or a point of difference? Because, even in the doctrine of the image of God, you’ve got to recognize similarity and difference, however you parse that.

Perichoresis is this really great trinitarian word, it’s the mutual indwelling which the persons of the trinity have their being in each other constitutively. It’s the way the three are one. The persons in the trinity indwell each other and would not be themselves without such mutual indwelling. But, it’s frequently appealed to as a point of similarity. The wonderful instance of interpersonal unity, which either shows us how human personhood is solely constituted, or serves as a model for wihch we ought to strive for. But, perichoresis, it seems obvious it ought to name the difference between the unity of God and the created unity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one with a unity more absolute than we encounter among created phenomena. They are one with a category bursting unity of mutual insideness that cannot be captured on a venn diagram

Venn diagram or set diagram is a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of sets(aggregation of things). Venn diagrams were conceived around 1880 by John Venn. They are used to teach elementary set theory, as well as illustrate simple set relationships in probabilitylogicstatisticslinguistics and computer science (see logical connectives).(Wikipedia)

…that cannot be captured on a venn diagram, that cannot be replicated using the laws of physics and cannot be applied to non physical, created spiritual realities. When Jesus prays, „Let them be one, as we are one,” to interpret this as being perichoretic unity should characterize the church is a serious misunderstanding.

So, I hope it’s obvious how this relates to a conflicting vision of the theology of gender relations of evangelicalism. Both sides do seem open to the charge of having looked into the trinity and found their own image looking back. The complementarians have been the most explicit about the normative character of imaging. And, Dr. Giles is probably right that they pushed first. The complementarians have been most explicit about the normative character: The wife should submit to the husband as the eternal Son submits to the eternal Father (as Grudem-Ware have stated).

But, the egalitarian pdepiction of the inner life of God always sounds suspiciously like a thriving, vibrant, egalitarian community. Take these phrases from the recent Evangelical Statement on the Trinity (see website here and see the reponse here by Daniel Chew and from the Evangelical Theological Society here):

God excercises perfect, cooperative relationships. God models perfect love, respect, cooperation. God exemplifies a unity in diversity that we should emulate between the genders and practice in the global, multi cultural, mutual submission and respectful cooperation of humans…. Deference between the trinity is mutual. All mutually honor and defer to one another.

It seems to me that while some complementarians have been boldest about directly connecting inner trinitarian structure to human power relations, some egalitarians have been most thorough and uncritical in allowing their assumptions about power to dictate the very plausibility structure of what simply must be the case. In both cases we are trapped in a hall of mirrors. You may pretend to model your social vision on what you already know about God, but, as your opponents are glad to point out to you is you’re really more likely to be modeling your notions about God’s inner life in the image of your vision of a just social order.

How is it that such a reversal has come about in out theological thinking? And who will deliver us from this death by anthropological projection? Trinitarian theology can avoid the dangers of projection by eschewing a direct appeal to a created phenomenon as the direct image of an immanent trinity. The immanent trinity can be visualized, because it has provided for us an image of itself. The immanent trinity, God’s eternal existence  as Father, Son, and Spirit has been made known in the economy of salvation. The eternal Son condescended to become the subordinate Son. And the eternal Spirit has been poured out on all flesh by the Father on the basis of the finished work of the Son.

The special, personal presence of the Son and Spirit in the history of salvation, that is the economic trinity, is the one exclusive foundational image of the immanent trinity. Whoever sees the Son has seen the Father, because the incarnate Son lives out among us, a life of identical Son like response as the eternal life of  filial response. He lives with the Father in communion  with the Holy Spirit, above all worlds. There, as here, the Son is the Son. As George MacDonald poetically puts it, “When he died on thecrossHe did that, in the wild weather of his outlying provinces, in the torture of thebody of His revelation, which he had done at home in glory and gladness.

God is not different in our midst, from how God is in the eternal, divine life. The immanent trinity has its own proper image, and its own proper gracious presence in the history of salvation. It is the economic trinity which is the vision of the immanent trinity.

There is a relative independence of these two regions of doctrine, but there is also a relationship.  between the immanent trinity and all manner of human social structures, including the structure of male-female relations in family, and in church. That relationship, though, is not direct and it is not an image. It is the salvation historical reality established by the direct personal presence of the Son and Spirit in the economy of the redemption. The economic trinity, and only the economic trinity is the image of the immanent trinity. This exclusivity cuts in two directions. No other image of the trinity is admissible as a source of revelation, as a basis of theological construction. The psychological analogy of the trinity, the structures of community life, hierarchical or non hierarchical organization of human relations need not apply here. They may have continued relevance as illustration, or apologetic gambit, or pedagogical aid, maybe. But, they cannot used to generate theological accounts of the trinity.

The image of the trinity is not the human soul or the human family. The only image of the immanent trinity is the economic trinity. To elucidate God’s triunity in itself, theology should not turn anywhere, but to the economy of salvation. The exclusivity of the salvation historical image, that is presence of the Son and Spirit also cuts in another direction, calling into question the idea of imitating the trinity and undercutting the many current projects which offer the immanent trinity as the  model society which human societies could imitate. The projects presuppose that christian social ethics should emerge form transforming our common lives into a kind of picture of the immanent trinity.

The immanent trinity, however, already has a picture: the economic trinity. The economic trinity, which is to serve as the model of any mimetic method we might undertake. (As Dr. Giles said: Imitate Jesus, don’t imitate the trinity). God does not rule the world through a formal principle such as: „As above, so below”. He rules the world „as the kingdom comes to earth”: „as it is in heaven, brought by the eternal Son, who makes one identical movement. One filial response to the Father: „On earth, as it is in heaven”. (min 55)

The relation between the eternal Son and the eternal Father:

Is it complementation or is it egalitarian?

Processions in the life of God, procession of the Son and of the Spirit, from the Father, in the life of the trinity are going out- procession. But, they don’t get further away. The Son proceeds from the Father, comes from the Father, but, doesn’t get further from the Father. In fact, the more perfectly He proceeds, the more perfectly He is unified. Which means, every diagram I have ever drawn of the trinity is wrong, because the arrow has to come out from the point of origin and get progressively further from the origin as it goes. But, the relation of the trinitarian life of the living God is weirder than that. I don’t know of any analogies for it. And, that’s another thing that undercuts the image strategy.

Let me try to connect the dots here to our understanding of who Jesus Christ is. So, moving from getting the immanent trinity right, to understanding what this has to do with reading the Gospels and coming to know Jesus Christ, as He is portrayed in Scripture. It says He is the Son, here below, among us on earth, as He is in heaven. And the reason Jesus introduces us to His Father and tells us to pray to His Father is because He is handing over, or He is opening up to us a created participation in a relationship that He has, has always had, He wouldn’t be Himself if He hadn’t always had, and that He is bringing to earth. And so, when He tells us to pray, „Hallowed be the name of God on earth as it is in heaven,” it’s because He is the Son who hallows the name of God. He is the Son on earth, as He is the Son in heaven. Because He is the Son in heaven. The eternal Son becomes the incarnate Son in order to redeem us and make us adopted sons.(min 58:18)

I want to quote Austin Farrer, theologian and pastor who was C.S.Lewis’s priest for awhile. Here’s what Farrer says in an essay on incarnation: We cannot understand Jesus as simply the God who was man. If we do, we have left out an essential factor: The Sonship. Jesus is not simply God manifest as man. He is the divine Son, coming in manhood. What was expressed in human terms here below was not bare deity. It was divine Sonship. God cannot live an identically God like life in eternity and in the human story.” I think what he means by that is: if Jesus were merely just God showing up as man, He would have to have everyone worship Him immediately or He wouldn’t be being God. Right? There would be no hiding it or concealing it, that would be no revelation at all. For God to show up as an identically God like life where He lives on earth exactly the life He lives in heaven, would be for Him to be God on earth in a direct and open way.

But, the divine Son can make an identical response to His Father, whether He makes it in the love of the blessed trinity, or in the fulfillment of an earthly ministry. All the conditions of action are different on the two levels. But, the filial response, a Sonly response is one. Above, the appropriate response from the Son to the Father is cooperation and sovereignty and an interchange of eternal joy. Then the Son gives back to the Father all that the Father is. Below, in the incarnate life, the appropriate response of a Son to a Father is an obedience to inspiration, a waiting for a direction, an acceptance of suffering, a rectitude of choice, a resistance to temptation, a willingness to die. For such things are the stuff of our existence. It is in this very stuff that Christ worked out the theme of heavenly Sonship, proving Himself on earth the very thing He was in heaven. That is, a continuous, perfect act of filial love. (1 hour mark)

At the 1 hour mark starts the egalitarianism vs. complementarianism debate.

Video Published on Dec 10, 2012 by BiolaUniversity

BIOLA’s description on Youtube: A Dialogue between Dr. Kevin Giles (egalitarian) & Dr. Fred Sanders (complementarian).

These two Trinity scholars – with different perspectives on the evangelical gender debate – discuss recent arguments that an eternal „authority/subordination” relationship exists between the Father and Son, and that it is intended as a model for male-female relations.

For the most recent example of this argument, see the chapters by Drs. Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware in „The New Evangelical Subordinationism?: Perspectives on the Equality of God the Father and God the Son”

Kevin Giles (Th.D. Australian College of Theology) served as Anglican rector/pastor for forty years, and now writes, lectures, and is an associate in his present parish in Australia. He has been a member of Christians for Biblical Equality since its inception. His publications include „The Trinity and Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God and the Contemporary Gender Debate” (IVP Academic, 2002); „Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity” (Zondervan, 2006); and „The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology” (IVP Academic, 2012). Kevin’s views on the Trinity and Gender are summarized in CBE’s „Priscilla Papers” 26.3, Summer 2012.

Fred Sanders (Ph.D. Graduate Theological Union) has served as Professor of Theology in Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute since 1999, is a popular speaker and blogger (www.patheos.com/blogs/scriptorium/author/fredsanders), and an active member of the Grace Evangeiical Free Church. His publications include „The Image of the Immanent Trinity” (Peter Lang, 2005); „Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective: An Introductory Christology”, F. Sanders and K. Issler, eds. (B&H, 2007); and „The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything” (Crossway, 2010). Fred has produced many scholarly articles, book chapters. and academic presentations on the Trinity, in which he argues for both „order and equality” in the Godhead.

Rape Seen Through Jacob in the Bible – Biola University President Barry H. Corey

Shechem siezes Dinah

Shechem siezes Dinah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jacob’s indifference was his tragic flaw, demonstrated after his daughter was defiled. Instead of standing up, he backed down.  Chapter 34 ends with a pathetic Jacob living in fear with a sense of defilement and scandal on a family that has lost its spiritual soul. But, thank God for chapter 35, for the One who is missing in chapter 34, steps into this family to begin chapter 35 with these three words: „Then God said”.

Men of Biola, don’t be like Jacob of Genesis 34. Stand up for women and their dignity. Speak out against friends who try to commoditize women, objectify them, who disparage their purity. Don’t be that way and refuse to tolerate those piranhas who think of women in terms of „get me her”. And, one day you might have a wife and daughters. Don’t allow your own self interests, as noble as those self interests might be to trump your obligation to love and protect your wife and your children. (see rest of notes below video).

Published on Aug 13, 2012 by  Chapel from Sexual Violence Awareness Week  April 23, 2012

The sincerity of words must be earned. As you men live respectively in community, here with women honor their dignity and honor their beauty. Spend more time looking at Biola women above the neck, then below the neck. May this be  palace known for honoring women as they flourish in the image of God, the way they were created: intelligent, bright, wise, insightful, beautiful, nurturing, strong.

And, whenever injustices take place against women in our society- from pornography, to sex trafficking, to comments, to employment discrimination, to domestic abuse, to a sense of gender superiority don’t ever think the right response is Jacob’s (i.e. silence after his daughter’s rape) seeing injustices and turning a blind eye to symptoms that steal the dignity from women. That’s not right. The world has enough exploitative men like Shechem (Dinah’s rapist). Let’s fight back by being men of integrity, not indignity.

And by the way, pornography is one way you commoditize  and objectify women. As fathers, and husbands and boyfriends, as classmates, as friends, as fathers and sons, as leaders in your communities and your careers- treat women with respect and dignity. There’s a place still for chivalry

#2 Don’t be like Shechem of Genesis 34–  just as you should not be like Jacob. Men, don’t say what you think women want to hear in order to get what you want to get. You know what I mean. Honor the dignity of the girls who are your friends and the girls and the girls you begin to feel tender for. Dignify them with your words and actions, don’t objectify them. „Get me her”, in order to feed your own sensual cravings. Shechem couldn’t give a rip about Dinah or at least he cared a lot more about himself then this girl otherwise he wouldn’t have treated her like the object of his one sided sexual desires.

Women of Biola, know that you are precious in God’s sight, even if you feel like someone has taken advantage of you, or didn’t stand up for you. Not all men are like Shechem and want to exploit you. Not all men are like Jacob and refuse to defend you. But there are men that way. Don’t let these exploitative and cowardly men define you. There are also men like many guys sitting around you today who want you to flourish in all God has called you to be and they will honor your dignity and cherish your beauty inside and out. Ladies, don’t let cheap words of tenderness and shallow love sway your sense about who you are.

Ladies, each of you is worthy to be pursued, to be wooed and ravished with love by a man who is crazy about you and exclusively faithful. It’s the poetry of Song of Songs that describes the beauty of a man truly pursuing a woman and a woman truly yielding to a man.

#3 Don’t be like Simeon and Levi of Genesis 34– although, I have to admit I am more sympathetic to them. Just like the right response to Dinah’s violation was not Jacob’s indifference, neither was it his sons’ vengeance. Violence breeds violence. They mocked the Lord by taking the holy rite of circumcision  and they abused it in order to get even. Vigilante style, they bypassed justice as they kicked the stuff out of Shechem and his father along with all the other men of the city. They did the right thing by rescuing their sister, the victim, from Shechem’s house. But, then, they did the wrong thing when they ridiculed the covenant of God, when they murdered the men and took the women and children of the city as bounty replicating the same indignity Shechem and his father had done.

We don’t respond to injustices against women by indifference and neither do we by vengeance. We respond by rescuing the victims and seeking to right the system that led to these wrongs. What God wants of us is to rise above the pathetic indifference of Jacob and the pathetically irrational actions of Simeon and Levi and to work to free the victims who are sexually manipulated and to correct the systems that allow this to happen. I’m so proud to know many of you will be doing just that- (through) your lives as social workers, as journalists, as teachers and film makers, as counselors, as physicians, as attorneys, as researchers, as entrepreneurs, as pastors, as good citizens.

At Biola University we believe there are great challenges in this world, challenges that call for life giving and Christ centered redemptive voices. This story of Genesis 34 shows adjective injustices when women are de-dignified, women made in the image of God and we need to be voices of compassion, we need to be voices of justice and mercy. And, as much as this chapter shows injustices in the way that these men failed because they were cowardly- like Jacob, or ego maniacal- like Shechem, or vindictive – like Levi and Simeon, there is a bigger story here and that is the failure of spiritual leadership. This chapter is an absolute mess. A girl is forcibly raped, a father doesn’t seem to care, the sons lose it and slaughter people, a family is torn apart. Well, what’s wrong? This chapter is a mess not because of what is there, but because of what is not there. What’s missing from Genesis chapter 34? God’s name is missing. It’s one of the few chapters of the historical books of the Bible that doesn’t mention the name of the Lord in any form. What does that tell you about why family chaos erupted when a bad thing happened to them? And why no Godly leadership emerged from the family patriarch- Jacob. No one was recognizing that the antidote to the family crisis and moral implosion was to respond to the Lord, to stand up as a braveheart God has called us to be as a spiritual leader, especially the father, Jacob.

Students, our world is no less messed up now than it was then. Are you nurturing the habits of your heart in your deep relationship with God, so that you can stand up and be a spiritual leader? In your relationships, one day in your family in addressing the injustices you will give yourself to correct, where are the spiritual leaders? We need a rising generation to lead with biblical and Godly courage. We don’t need you to sit back Jacob like and live in indifference, worrying about your own hide or your own success… Don’t squander these college years with the anemic disease of indifference. Enjoy your friendships, enjoy your leisurely time, but let it refresh you to be motivated for more than a degree to get you a job. Stand up for a cause that is dear to the heart of God. Take some risks, you have nothing to lose. Standing up to lead sometimes means stooping down to serve. Don’t feel like some roles of serving are below you, that’s arrogance and pride. Don’t feel that some roles of serving are bigger than you and you can’t rise to the challenge, that’s timidity.

I would actually, in the spirit of Genesis 34, like to see more of you standing up with Godly courage for causes that matter, not to fritter away your days. And a word to the guys of Biola, I often see risk taking leadership more in women, here. There are plenty of guys leading, but no one is off the hook. Don’t fail to stand up for a cause that rises from your obedience to God and His word. And that means dethroning the idols of self and sloth that get in the way. Stand up and be servant leaders, men.

Jacob’s indifference was his tragic flaw, demonstrated after his daughter was defiled. Instead of standing up, he backed down.  Chapter 34 ends with a pathetic Jacob living in fear with a sense of defilement and scandal on a family that has lost its spiritual soul. But, thank God for chapter 35, for the One who is missing in chapter 34, steps into this family to begin chapter 35 with these three words: „Then God said”. After all this family mess and spiraling chaos God shows up through His word. Then God said to Jacob, „Get up and go to Bethel, where you first encountered Me and settle there and build an altar there to God.Finally, be like Jacob in Genesis 35. It says that all the people followed him and he was a spiritual eager again. God gives this renewed sense of worth to Jacob and He gives Him a command. He says, „Go to Bethel and build an altar to me there, right where I first appeared to you decades ago when that ladder came down from heaven and I bridged that gap between heaven and earth and you experienced me for the first time in your life. Go back to that place where you found me when you were alone, you were frightened, you were fleeing for your life. Go to that same space and know Me again like you once did before you drifted so far from Me”

And those of you who feel like you’ve drifted, it’s time you took a lesson from Jacob and made things right with God, one on one in whatever this sacred space is for you and then build an altar of commitment. So, Jacob began that pilgrimage, back to the place where he first heard from God in Genesis 28, where he set up an altar. That place of brokenness where he turned to God and faith. „And, as you go,” God told Jacob in verse 2, „I want you to begin shedding the junk that has been accumulating in your life in these intervening years. Lead that family of yours by getting rid of the foreign gods that you have with you  and purify yourselves. Go in purity and power by surrendering your fears to my strengths.”

So in verse 6 Jacob returned to that place where God first showed up, he reprioritized his life and in so doing he regained that spiritual leadership with his family, so absent in chapter 34. As we stand up and in a community walk together in healing, we take back the dignity the devil has stolen from so many. And this is our calling students. Allow the spirit of God and the word of God to wake you from your slumber, to call you to greater things. Don’t squander the best years before you. Then in verse 6 it says Jacob and all the people came with him to Bethel. Finally, he began to model a father’s love, the love that God has for us. With his family around him, this restored Jacob, he built an altar  and he called the place El-Bethel, House of God. And in verse 11, God reminded Jacob of  a promise that sets the stage for a great commission in Matthew 28 that „all nations will be blessed through us”. He says, „I am God almighty and nations and the community of nations will come from you and kings will come from your body, including the Messianic seed of Christ, the King of Kings, the one who restored and through whom we are able to stand up and go forward.

Josh McDowell – Undaunted A Journey from Skepticism to Faith March 2012 at Biola University (A must watch for every parent)

You might have heard Josh McDowell on Christian radio, or read his apologetic books, but you may have never known the deep pain and shame he grew up with or the devastating circumstances behind his wanting to die at the age of 11. What a heartbreaking story, yet so triumphant and full of redemption for the man he has become. He has debated 250 times on university campuses since then. Josh McDowell’s is author of  ‘Evidence that demands a verdict’; the first book that he set out to write when he decided to leave law school at the age of 20, in order to travel to several countries to write this book that would refute Christianity. In the end, he only ended up convincing himself that Jesus Christ was God incarnate and his new faith and mentor helped him to finally forgive his alcoholic father for destroying their family and the hired farm hand that raped him for 6 years, from the age of 6-12.

Here are a few notes from the beginning of this story, which he told to students and faculty at Biola University in March of 2012 as Biola was hosting Sexual Violence Awareness Week. You can view the 33 minute message in the video at the bottom of this post:

Joslin "Josh" McDowell, a Christian ...

Joslin „Josh” McDowell, a Christian apologist, evangelist, and writer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

„I want to tell a story about an 11 year old boy who woke up one morning and just wanted to die. He didn’t want to live anymore.  It’s my story. Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever had that fleeting thought that it wouldn’t matter to anyone if you lived or you died? That’s how I felt at 11 years old and I just wanted to die. I was brought up in a little tiny town called Union Michigan of about 1800 people and growing up my father was the town alcoholic. I never knew him sober until I was about 20 years old. I would go to school and I would see my friends make jokes about my dad, laughing about him being in the gutter downtown making a fool of himself. Every time they told a joke it hurt, but I never, ever let anyone know.

We were brought up on a frame and I would go out to the barn at 9,10, 11 years old and I’d see my mother whom I loved very, very much lying in the manure behind the gutter near the cows where my dad had yanked the hoses off the milk pipes and beat my mother to a bloody pulp until she was so weak and so bloody she couldn’t stand up and she would roll out of the manure and at 8,9, 10, 11 years old I’d beat and kick on my father and say, „When I’m strong enough, I’ll kill you”.

We’d have company come, my dad would be drunk and if any of you have an alcoholic parent you know what I’m talking about: Every day of your life you carry shame. No matter, you become a Christian or not, you carry shame with you every day of your life and especially when your friends would come over and your dad would be drunk. So, I would go out to the barn. He was a small man, I was just a little kiddo and I would grab him around the neck or I would lift up his feet and I would pull him into the barn where the cows would be and I would drop him on the straw and I would go and park the car (cause at the farm you learn to drive young) around behind the barn where nobody could see it. Then, in case he’d wake up before the company left, I would go back there and I would get him up against the boards and ties his arms with rope and then around his neck. The first time I left him there from 5:30 at night to 5:30 in the morning and I remember when I went out there I was so disappointed that he was still alive.  All I wanted was for my dad to quit hurting my mother.

Then McDowell recounts how in his senior year of high school he found his mother weeping in her room and she tells him that his father broke her heart and all she wanted is to live to see his graduation and then she wanted to just die. Ironically 61 days after that conversation McDowell graduated from high school and the friday after his graduation his mother din in fact ‘just die’.  He hated his father for it. McDowell was the youngest of 5 kids and he also recounts how he wanted to die at the age of 11 and buried himself in a bin full of corn. After a few hours as hunger and thirst got to him, he struggled to get out and when he opened the barn door and the sunlight hit him, he hated his father and cursed him and he hated God for abandoning him to his circumstances.

Watch the video for the rest of Josh McDowell’s story (33 minutes):

Published on Jul 9, 2012 by  Chapel from March 23, 2012

Does God exist? Biola University hosts Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig

This is the video of the debate that took place at Biola University on April 4,2009. Introduction and hosting by Craig J. Hazen, Director of Christian Apologetics at Biola University. Moderator – Law Professor and Broadcast Journalist Hugh Hewitt.

Marvin Olasky moderates Creation/Evolution panel at Biola University Oct.2010

Marvin Olaski of World Magazine moderates a highly educational debate from the perspective of Young Earth Creationists at Biola University. This debate is highly recommended for adults and especially for high school and collegeage kids.

Mai mult

Francis Chan: The Joy of Suffering – Biola University Chapel

Francis Chan speaks to the Biola  University students in 2009. One standout illustrative part is when he compares our memorizing Scriptures with an example of his daughter’s obedience. You can read about Francis Chan’s recent decision to step down from his church to move to San Francisco and work with the inner city here.

Here is an update (March 14th) from Francis Chan:

Our friends in Iran are still in prison, so please keep praying for them…  Some have been released but others are still suffering.  Much of their time is spent in solitary confinement.  Please Pray.  Here’s a link to read more: http://www.elam.com

As far as my life, things continue to go supernaturally well.  God has been showing me His grace and love constantly.  Lisa’s pregnancy is healthy and we are expecting our baby girl in May.  We continue to get more settled in San Francisco, however, I have been traveling so much that I still don’t feel like I have „moved” yet.

In regards to our adoption, some things have changed.  We are still in the process of adoption, but we have decided to pursue a sibling set through the foster system.  We found out that Isaac, the child from China, was also sought after by a wonderful Christian family.  Rather than „competing” for the same child, we thought it best to pursue other children that no one wanted.  We found out that around 500 children in California are in need of adoption every month!  You can be praying for us as we pursue this.  You can also be praying for yourself, as God may be calling you to do the same.

I am very excited about some writing projects I am currently working on.  One in particular is a discipleship project I am creating with David Platt.  We have both been deeply concerned with the fact that so few who attend church services are obeying the great commission and making disciples.  We are working on creating a free resource that would equip all lay people to make disciples.  I believe deeply that the future of the church in America depends largely in all believers doing the work of discipleship and placing less of a burden on paid staff.  I believe our best days are ahead.

One thing that I have been thanking God for lately is how much enjoyment I am finding in prayer, study of His Word, and telling others about Christ.  It has been little about discipline and work, and more about desire.  It is great

„Oh God, you are my God; earnestly, I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”  Psalm 63:1to be in a season like this.

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for [Torrey 2009] Francis Chan: The Joy of Sufferin…

Follow my videos on vodpod

Related sermons from Francis Chan

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari